SPARKLERS / Mindfulness

Body Scan

A calming, mindfulness activity that boosts body awareness
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki take part in a mindfulness experience using body awareness and reflect on how this can help us find calm.

He aha ai? – Why we love it

Sleeping statues and Tummy breathing pave the way for this activity, which boosts body-awareness, and helps students to relax and manage their feelings.

Tikanga tips

If you do this activity lying down, avoid stepping over people. This can be tricky in a crowded classroom. If the space is small, ask tamariki to lie with their legs together and bring their arms in close to their bodies, so you have more freedom to move around.

And mind those heads! They’re tapu and shouldn’t be touched unless requested. It’s also important that tamariki aren’t resting their heads on cushions or beanbags people sometimes sit on. If needed, have special pillows for heads only, or improvise with folded sweatshirts.

Hei mahi - What to do

Start with some tummy breathing, with students in their seats or lying down if your students are comfortable with this. Then read the below script in a calm, slow voice..

“Today we are going to do an activity that will help you notice the sensations in your body while you’re relaxing. This is part of mindfulness. So I’d like you to sit comfortably in your seat, to rest your arms in your lap and to place your feet firmly on the ground. Now close your eyes so you can focus on your body.

Firstly, notice how your feet feel on the floor. Can you feel the weight of your feet? Are they heavy or light? Notice the bottom of your feet, and the tops of your feet. Then focus on your toes and move your attention from toe to toe.

Bring your attention to the tops of your feet and toward your ankles. If you are wearing socks, can you feel them on your ankles? what sensation can you feel, is it soft or tingly or so light you can’t feel that sensation. Move towards your knees & focus on what your lower leg feels on the way, do your feel your clothing, or are your legs bare? When you get to your knee what can you feel at the front of your knee? What about at the back of your knee.

Move to your thighs, the front of your thighs and the back of your thighs. How do they feel on the chair? Can you feel your weight on the chair? Do they feel heavier underneath and lighter on top?

Let’s move to your back and how it feels resting against the chair. Does your back feel relaxed? Is it supported by the chair? Move up your back to your shoulders, and notice if they are tight or relaxed. Take some deep breathes. Whatever you feel, just notice it and remain still.

Now go toward your tummy and notice how it feels to breathe in and breathe out. Notice how you are breathing, is your chest moving up and down?

Move your attention back to your shoulders. Then move your focus down your arms, feeling your elbows, your forearms. Let your attention rest for a moment on your hands. Do they feel light or heavy? Warm or cold? Notice your palms, the back of your hands and your fingers, can you feel each finger and fingertip?

Let’s go back up to your shoulders and neck. Notice your neck and throat and any tightness you may feel.

Bring your awareness slowly up to the front of your face. Be aware of any tightness, relaxation or pressure. Then turn your attention to your eyes and feel the weight of your eyelids as they rest over your eyes.

Move your attention to your nose. Notice the feeling of air as it passes through your nostrils. Is it warm or cool? Feel your cheeks and your jaw. Is your jaw clenched or loose? Just notice what you are feeling and continue to breathe through these sensations. Feel your mouth, your teeth, your lips, the light pressure of skin on skin, softness, coolness.

Now let’s move to the back of your head. Notice any hair which you may feel on your neck or ears, move toward your ears, simply notice any sounds you hear. Move to the top of your head and notice whatever sensations are there, whether tingly or tense, or whether you don’t feel anything at all.

Slowly notice your whole body; scanning from top to toe. And now let’s finish off with 2 or 3 tummy breaths. As you go through your day, see if you can notice some of these sensations in your body.

When you feel ready, open your eyes and notice what is around you.

What next?

Add Mindful Birdsong to your Body Scan time - that is try a Body Scan while our native birds sing!

Try our Magic minute.

To bring a truly Aotearoa approach to mindfulness and breathing exercises, we also recommend Hikitea te Hā.

Sparklers at Home

If you think it may be useful for whānau to give mindfulness activities such as Body Scan a go, simply copy and paste the following 'blurb' into an email or your home-learning programme as an introduction.

In the classroom we've been practising tummy breathing and body scans because they're excellent strategy for relaxing and calming our bodies and minds. Understanding our breathing and mindfulness practices means we're better able to manage big emotions - which as we know, is important for adults too!

Sparklers at Home has adapted the Body Scan activity we've been practising in the classroom, ready for home use. It would be great if you could give this a try with your child, and practice with them. They'll be familiar with it, so it will be exciting for them to take you through it.

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